So many people want to improve their soccer-playing skills, but don’t know where to start. It can be a little overwhelming to think about, but with some practice and a little bit of know-how, some solid improvements are more and more noticeable.
These are 25 practical soccer tips to improve your game sooner rather than later. Some are meant for off-the-field improvement, while others directly translate to the game on the pitch.
Juggling the soccer ball without anybody nearby is going to help with ball control. The great thing about juggling is that there’s not a lot of space needed, and could be done virtually anywhere.
Players who learn how to juggle and really get a knack for controlling the ball will have a lot of success all around the pitch. It helps all positions, which is also something to keep in mind.
2. Find Equipment That Works
It does not take much equipment to work on soccer. A solid, dependable ball, some open space, and a few other training tools will more than get the job done.
The important thing is to have it all ready to go so that excuses are eliminated.
Here are my up-to-date equipment recommendations:
3. Learn From Mistakes
It’s impossible to be perfect as a soccer player. One of the ways to really excel is to learn from mistakes as much as possible.
That means that if there was a mistake made in the previous match, dwelling on it will not make things any better. Instead, try to learn about what happened, and make adjustments when necessary.
4. Listen To Coaches
Coaches can help out players as they mature in the soccer world. Maybe some soccer coaches aren’t as good as others, but they all seem to be looking out for their players as much as possible. Pay attention to their feedback, and don’t be afraid to make some adjustments when necessary.
Some players have the opportunity to work with team coaches, as well as individual coaches to work on skills. When everyone is on the same page, and a player is starting to really get things down, that’s when it all starts to gel.
5. Embrace Feedback
Feedback can come from more than just coaches, which is why it’s important to embrace the good and the bad. Hearing praise all the time is nice, but it might not exactly be the best in order to improve.
There needs to be some harsh criticism here and there to know what players need to work on. Don’t take it as an insult, but more of a way for people to get better and better as time goes on.
6. Use Cones For Small Dribbling Drills
Another solo practice option that doesn’t take up too much space is using flags or cones to do dribbling drills. For example, knifing through the barriers can be beneficial in getting people to play the way they should.
There’s a lot of changing in direction in soccer, and being able to get that down just right helps out tremendously.
7. Training With a Wall
As long as a person has a soccer ball they don’t care too much about, practicing against the wall can actually be one of the most beneficial training tips out there. The ball will always come back, and players can even start to focus specifically on targets to ensure that they are doing everything the right way.
Not only does it help build power by kicking against the wall, but it can improve the first touch by taking the ball off of the wall.
There are a lot of people who start to see pretty big improvement playing the game just by doing some practices against a wall. There’s also plenty of other options out there that rebound the soccer ball that can be used as well.
8. Practice Regularly
A regular schedule is going to keep a player on target to do everything that they could possibly think of as far as soccer is concerned.
Not having a schedule of some sort makes it so much easier to blow off practice when it is actually needed. Stay disciplined with a schedule, and it quickly becomes a habit.
9. Work on Special Skills, One At a Time
Having special skills in soccer can really be beneficial for any player trying to differentiate themselves from others.
Whether that be something like heading or a new dribbling move, it really doesn’t matter. What matters is working on that move first in practice, and then eventually in a match.
Taking that transition from practice to match is sometimes challenging for players, but there’s no reason to be too intimidated. Training special skills branches into more and more skills later on.
10. Stretch as Much as Possible
There’s a lot of moving around and athleticism involved with soccer. Taking the extra bit of time to stretch not only to get loosened up, but to add flexibility. Every little bit helps.
One of the worst types of injuries a soccer player can suffer is if they don’t properly stretch and pull a muscle. If the injury is too much, it can take a long time to get back on the pitch playing at full speed. Stretching gets easier and easier as time goes on, but it’s all about adding flexibility.
11. Interval Training For Endurance
In the past, some thought that the best way to train for soccer was to go on long runs. While it might seem like soccer players are running around all the time, it’s really all about doing short intervals occasionally.
That’s why training with intervals will increase endurance in a soccer manner. Training like how the match flows matters.
12. Incorporate Jump Rope as often as Possible
Jumping rope has a lot of benefits for all types of exercise, but it really does a great job in soccer.
There is a lot of movement, so being able to stretch the whole body out while also moving around helps out in the family.
13. Watch The Best Play
There’s something to be learned from watching the best soccer players play the game. There are live matches, replays of matches, breakdowns of matches, and anything else a person can think of.
Watching the best players closely as they make the game seem so easy just makes a ton of sense overall.
14. Study Opponents
Every soccer player’s career gets to a point that they should be studying their opponents as much as possible. What they end up doing and how they approach the game can be a big dictator on a specific strategy.
It just makes sense to better understand tendencies and have a leg up in that regard.
15. Learn To Communicate Well With Teammates
Communication is a big part of playing the game of soccer. There are a lot of players who never get that down, and they just don’t become the type of teammate that they really want to be.
Not only that, but it holds a great player back as a valuable part of the team, since they need to be able to get along with everyone on the pitch.
Sometimes, communication is done without actually saying anything. Play with people long enough, and that starts to make sense. Great teams do not necessarily have the best talent, but they know how to be in the right spots to help each other.
16. Keep The Game Simple
To piggyback on communication, keeping the game simple is sometimes one of the best ways to be a great player.
It is not about being the fanciest or looking the best on certain moves. Consistency, and getting the job done, are simply more often than not.
17. Know Soccer Rules
Soccer rules are relatively simple, but players need to learn the rules as time goes on.
Just by knowing the rules, players know right from wrong, and they can have a better chance of having success. Doing something that’s illegal is only going to cause a lot of confusion.
18. Have a Supporting Group
There’s a time for feedback and coaching, but there’s also a time for a supportive group willing to build a player up during their toughest moments.
Some of this group can be family, while others are just great friends. All in all, it comes down to finding support and never getting too down.
19. Try All Positions
Every player grows up wishing to score a ton of goals in soccer, but unfortunately, only a few get that opportunity. The majority of soccer players are part of the team that does a lot of other things other than finding the back of the net.
Try out being a defender, a midfielder, and a striker. Also try hard being a goalkeeper, just to see what ends up being fun. Some people might surprise themselves in the end by what they enjoy the most.
20. Enjoy other Sports
Finally, soccer is a great sport to enjoy and practice as much as possible. However, most people would agree that trying other sports and picking up some athleticism from that can help as well.
Not only does it help keep a person much more well-rounded as an athlete, but it’s just fun in general to break up the norm. The other sport doesn’t have to be anything serious, but a little bit of cross-training never hurt anyone.
21. Improve Nutrition
Eating the right foods and staying nourished as much as possible can make a big deal in how someone performs in any physical activity.
Too many people gloss over the importance of nutrition, but eating properly (and at the right time) makes a big difference. This goes for before and after, since the body needs fuel to perform.
Hydration matters just about as much as food, as the body loses a lot of fluids during play. Not only are players running all around the field, but temperatures can be pretty hot in the summer that makes people lose even more body fluids.
Stay as hydrated as possible, and the body will react much better than most realize. It helps to keep the entire body sharp.
23. Mental Conditioning
Having better mental conditioning will go far in helping any soccer player reach their goals. Having the right composure, confidence, and mental toughness to go against players at all different skill levels makes a big difference.
Without having a strong mind, even the smallest amount of adversity can hold talented players back.
24. Do Not Overtrain
There is such a thing as overtraining in any sport, and soccer is no different. People are trying to get ahead of the competition, but the body needs rest in order to be at its best.
If a person overtrains, they put themselves at greater risk of injury. Listen to the body and react accordingly. This is particularly true when a match is on the horizon.
25. Sleep Properly
Getting the right amount of sleep when training as a soccer player is going to make a big difference overall. The body counts on getting a certain amount of rest to continue to stay sharp and alert all the time.
There are way too many younger players who feel like they don’t need to get any type of sleep.
Even beyond sleep, it comes down to getting off the feet and letting the body not have that wear and tear of moving around all the time.